From the Director's Desk...
Violence against women, architecture and spatial mobility, and women in the kibbutz are a few of the themes of IROW's fall programs. After a busy summer of discussion and planning, we began the semester with our new brochure completed and a full calendar of events for the year, many of them organized in association with other groups. We are also continuing long-term planning in a number of areas.
Among the most intense efforts of the summer was our response to the disturbing number of incidents of rape last year, both on and off campus. Initiated by IROW, a faculty committee planned campus visits in October by Peggy Reeves Sanday, the University of Pennsylvania anthropologist who wrote Fraternity Gang Rape: Sex, Brotherhood and Privilege on Campus, and Ronald Compbell, Director of Housing at George Mason University and a specialist in working with men on the issue of sexual violence. In conjunction with the Department of Women's Studies, a voluntary teaching day on violence against women is planned for the spring semester.
In the process of finalizing our joint proposal with the Center for Women and Government, "New Voices: International Women in Public Policy," IROW Associate Director Sucheta Mazumdar and I learned inadvertently of an extensive collection of materials from women's organizations around the world that connot be retained in its current location. Upon discovering that these materials might be discarded, we initiated discussions with the head of Special Collections and Archives at the University Library. If acquired, this collection of materials on Women and International Development will provide the University at Albany with a unique set of resources for interdisciplinary research.
Varied events filled out the semester's programs. Shortly after the talks on violence against women, IROW joined with the University's Lewis Mumford Center and the community-based Albany Roundtable to host a conference on "Gender, Space and Place." Featuring presentations on the gendered aspects of architecture, mobility, employment and migration patterns, the conference forged new ties with scholars and community organizations interested in the issue of urban environments. In November, Michal Palgi from Haifa University spoke on "Women in the Changing Kibbutz." IROW also was among the co-sponsors of a program planned by the Center for Latin America and the Caribbean entitled "Rediscovering America: Women in the Building of the New World."
As we work on various grant proposals and projects and plan for the spring semester, the enthusiasm of IROW Associates and others with whom we work continues to be a critical ingredient of our success. Thanks are due once again to Kathy Trent, Sociology, for assistance with the newsletter; to Judy Bedian in Graphics for her fine work in designing our new brochure; and to Judith Fetterley of the English Department and Jan Hagen of the School of Social Welfare, who have energetically and creatively co-chaired the Faculty Group on Violence Against Women. Finally, in this spirit, I would like to share the response of one of the speakers at our symposium last spring on "Gender, War and Revolution in Global Perspective." She wrote to tell me of how impressed she was by the intellectual quality of the event and by the "warm, supportive and encouraging" group of feminist scholars she met at Albany.